Friday, March 19, 2010
Turtle Heaven or How to Catch a Turtle
I went fishing with a couple of my buddies today to Clearlake. As usual I took my camera along which was a pretty bold thing to do. Actually I wasn't using much common sense but, I feel naked without my camera. The reason I wasn't being sensible was the fact that I was finally trying out my new kayak. Actually I bought it for taking pictures and going fishing. It is just that it is probably a good idea to get used to a small watercraft and learn its limitations before taking a camera onboard.
Luckily for me there were no mishaps and the kayak proved to be quite stable once I got used to it. I ended up shooting more pictures of my friends than I did fishing which as you can probably guess isn't that uncommon for me. For the fisher people among you I hooked and lost one fish. My friends Joe and Steve caught five and three apiece.
Eventually the lighting started to go and I headed back to the boat ramp. Along the way I spotted an Osprey and a few Yellow Headed Blackbirds. Log that into the photo brain for the future. Near the ramp was a slough that I wanted to check out. When I turned the corner into the slough I couldn't believe my eyes. There were more turtles on one snag than I have ever seen in my entire life. There was somewhere close to twenty Western Pond Turtlesall sunning themselves in a row upon it. Wow! Turtle Heaven.
I let the speed of the kayak and a slight breeze behind me carry into the slough towards the snag. I kept the camera to my face and barely moved shooting images as I went. Finally when I got fairly close I took the camera down. The turles all started diving off of the log immediately. That is all except one. He seemed to be thinking."You don't scare me one bit.
I floated closer until we were at eye level and I was only about three feet away and my camera wouldn't focus anymore. I looked at him/she and (s)he looked back at me. Suddenly an idea popped into my head. I once heard that you can catch turtles with a canoe. Well if with a canoe why not a kayak?
I slowly took the paddle and maneuvered the bow of the kayak under the snag. When I put my paddle down the turtle dove off of the log into the front of the kayak! (It has an open bow) I scooped the poor thing up with my landing net. It immediately drew back in its shell when I picked it up. We talked for a bit and I apologized for scaring the begeezus out of it. I then put it back in the water and it dove deep far away from my kayak. It probably has some stories to tell of its own to its buddies.
The California Department of Fish and Game considers the Western Pond Turtle to be a species of special concern.
God's light and love to all,